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Judge Denies Petition For Writ Of Habeas Corpus

A state Supreme Court judge has denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed on behalf of a Buffalo man jailed since a March shooting in Jamestown.

The filing to Judge Lynn Keane of the 8th Judicial District was made by an attorney representing 26-year-old Mikial C. Moore, who is seeking release from Chautauqua County Jail. The attorney, David Roggenbaum, contends that Moore’s prolonged detention is in violation of the Due Process clause of the U.S. Constitution, under Section 180.80 of the Criminal Procedure Law.

Moore was one of seven people named by the Jamestown Police Department in an arrest report after a man was shot March 26 on Jefferson Street. Investigators reportedly located four unlawfully possessed handguns in addition to 200 rounds of ammunition, 12 pounds of marijuana, 1.2 ounces of cocaine and $4,000 cash in numerous searches.

The Buffalo man was charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, tempering with physical evidence, second-degree obstructing governmental administration and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property.

Jamestown police have released few details regarding the shooting. Others charged in the incident include 21-year-old Torrie T. Jones and 18-year-old Andre D. Jones, both of Buffalo, as well as 29-year-old Anthony D. Burris, 47-year-old Eddie Melendez and 39-year-old Melissa C. Kestler, all of Jamestown.

Only Moore and Jones, who have prior felony convictions, remain in jail after bail was set at $100,000 cash, $200,000 property. Jones is being represented by the Chautauqua County Public Defender’s Office.

Roggenbaum filed the writ of habeas corpus May 15, seeking to compel the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office to produce Moore and require the court to determine whether the Buffalo’s man continued imprisonment was lawful. Roggenbaum noted that no indictment from a grand jury has been returned and that Moore, as of this week, had not taken part in a preliminary hearing.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which took hold in early March, forced the suspension of most court proceedings across New York state. That has included trials, grand jury action and sentencings. Arraignments and proceedings for orders of protection have been taking place, while counties are beginning to return to in-person operations in phases.

Section 180.80 of the Criminal Procedure Law states that there must be a preliminary hearing or grand jury action taken by the district attorney in a case within five days or 144 hours of an arrest.

Keane denied the writ of habeas corpus on Monday. She did not specify a reason in her ruling posted online late Thursday.

Roggenbaum, who did not return phone and email messages seeking comment, notified Keane this week that he had filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus “seeking immediate relief on behalf of Mikial Moore.”

A preliminary hearing was held Thursday for Moore and Jones. The pair remained at the jail while the hearing was held via Skype from Jamestown City Court in front of Judge Frederick Larson.

The Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office called four witnesses during Thursday’s two-hour-long hearing. Investigators and detectives from the Jamestown Police Department and Sheriff’s Office detailed the events leading up to the arrests of Moore and Jones.

Afterward, Larson ruled there was sufficient evidence to support the charges to each, and kept bail at the same amount.

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